Moving from AutoCAD to Revit: part 2

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Sean Bryant gives more practical advice on how a CAD manager in a medium-sized, multi-disciplinary practice can help smooth the path from AutoCAD to Revit.

This is the second in a series of three articles about making the move to Revit.

Using the scenario from part one of the series:

A medium sized, multi-disciplinary CAD practice, involved in architecture, structure and services, which often works with external contractors. Based in London, UK, it has fifteen core users, with anywhere up to twenty-five users when contract CAD personnel are brought in to make up capacity. A CAD manager is in place who acts as liaison between management at director level and the users in the CAD team. The team is currently using Autodesk AutoCAD for all of its work and is up to date with the latest version, due to an active Autodesk subscription agreement.

The practice has decided to use Autodesk Revit as its BIM tool of choice. There is a need to manage both the implementation and training required to make the practice both effective and efficient.

The article is written from the CAD manager’s perspective.


Addressing the Revit implementation

CAD manager to director level


“Revit is now our tool of choice. We need to invest in our IT and server capacity to ensure we have the server space to handle our Revit central models, and make sure that our users have enough local space to work with local worksharing models.”

CAD manager to the CAD team

“As we move forward with Revit in the practice, we will be working with much more capacity, both locally and on the servers. However, this does not allow us to be lazy. We will have to implement new strategies that allow us to be economical with this new space provided, as we will be working with much larger file sizes than we were with AutoCAD.”

Revit project files (RVT files) are bigger files. The CAD manager is making sure that the CAD team is aware that new working practices will be needed to manage this on a day to day basis, and that at director level, they are fully aware that investment is needed in the IT infrastructure. On an operational level, this has to be managed to ensure effective use of the IT infrastructure, to maintain Revit productivity. The last thing the CAD manager wants is a heavy Revit server that slows down local models and hinders the CAD team’s productivity on live projects.

From an IT standpoint also, the IT department managing the servers do not want slow servers overloaded with repetitive Revit data, hence the new working practices must include suitable housekeeping policies that keep the servers quick and lean, so as to handle the Revit 3D models.


Training Needs Analysis (TNA)

CAD manager to director level

“We will need to ensure that all Revit users undergo a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) to assess their training needs and requirements. This will give us a picture of exactly what they need and allow us to use the training effectively and get the most out of our incumbent training provider. It is imperative we allow the team to work with their strengths but also get trained up on areas of weakness, so that we have fully rounded Revit users that are effective and productive.”

CAD manager to the CAD team

“We need you all to undergo a Training Needs Analysis (TNA). This is to assess your existing Revit knowledge (if you have any) and what areas you need to work on to make sure you are fully trained on every aspect of Revit you need to perform your role within the practice effectively. We need you to make sure that you include everything in your TNA so that we can get the best training for you from our training provider.”

Effective training on any CAD product is imperative. The CAD manager is using the TNA to ensure each Revit user is trained to their strengths and that any areas where their product knowledge is weak is thoroughly assessed and appropriate training given. The TNA is done individually per user to make sure that each user gets training tailored to them. It also provides the user with the reassurance that with the new CAD product, in this case Revit, they will be fully trained and prepared to use the product on live projects that the practice is, or will be, working on.


Training delivery

CAD manager to director level

“We will be using our incumbent training provider to provide all of our Revit training based around the findings of the TNA exercise. We will be making sure that all training is scheduled around projects and staffing levels for those projects. We have to make sure that key project staff are trained sequentially, and to allow for at least one key member of project staff to be in the office at any given time when the other project team members are being trained.”

CAD manager to the CAD team

“You will be receiving individualised training based on the findings of your completed TNA. We need each of the project teams to build a training roster that allows for one key project team member to be in the office at any given time. We have to make sure that our existing projects are covered at all times. This will be even more important once Revit and BIM are implemented, as we will need to make sure that our central Revit models are fully co-ordinated with external contractors, partners, engineers and the client.”

The CAD manager has a responsibility to manage all of the ongoing projects in the practice. Training will disrupt the smooth running of those projects unless it is managed properly. The TNA process gives exact results on what training is required per user, so the CAD manager can ask the project teams to build a training roster per team, ensuring project coverage, and making sure there is at least one project team member in the office when training is ongoing.

As CAD manager, this management is extremely important to the efficient running of the current projects. There is also a responsibility on the CAD manager to make sure that each team is trained in turn, rather than one member at a time. You want each team to be fully trained up, so that they can hit the ground running. But there will always be one key project member remaining (the one that stays in the office when the others are being trained). The solution here is to train that key member when another team is being trained. For example, Key Project Team A Member gets trained with Key Project Team B and vice versa. That way, full project coverage is maintained but all teams get trained with sensible timescales.


Further training and certification

CAD manager to director level

“Once the CAD team is bedded in and trained on Revit, we need to think about intermediate and advanced training and build a budget and a schedule for this. It is imperative we keep the CAD team lean, trained and efficient on the latest versions and methodologies. The only way to do this is regular scheduled training. We also need to benchmark their Revit knowledge by way of Autodesk Revit Certification. All of our Revit users should become Autodesk Revit Certified Professionals.”

CAD manager to the CAD team

“Now that we have Revit set up in the practice and training is ongoing, we need to think ahead towards intermediate and advanced training. We would like you to keep notes of all aspects of Revit that you feel you will need to perform your role within the practice. You will also be offered the opportunity to gain Autodesk Revit Certified Professional status through our training provider.

In order to obtain this qualification, you will need to get approximately four hundred hours of active Revit usage under your belts. Keep a note of your hours and when you hit the four hundred mark, please inform us. We can then get you an examination place for certification.”

Here, the CAD manager is, in essence, future-proofing the practice’s investment both in Revit and the staff. In order to get a return on that investment, the CAD manager is already looking forward to future training for the CAD team. Staying on top of a CAD product once it is in place is imperative, to stay lean, and make sure the staff are fully aware of new version upgrades and methodologies that come with it. With Revit, though, a new version updates all of the Revit data to that particular version, and there is no backward compatibility. All of the project team, including external contractors, partners and the client would need to upgrade as well. Everyone involved with that particular project has to be on the same version of Revit.



In this second installment about transitioning to BIM, we have looked at the implementation of Revit and training of the practice staff to use Revit. The physical implementation of the Revit software is fairly simplistic and Autodesk provides full documentation on how to do this. What is paramount here is the server infrastructure, and how it is set up to the advantage of the CAD team using Revit.

Quite often a new server is set up from scratch to allow for the worksharing of Revit projects, along with a professional cloud storage account for use with external parties and for archiving. This would be individual to each and every organisation that uses Revit, but it must be set up to ensure that Revit is used to its full advantage by way of central and local Revit models.

Training is also imperative. For any organisation to get full return on investment on any software that is purchased or subscribed to, the staff must be trained. The training should be mandatory for all appropriate staff, along with (possibly, in this case) Autodesk Certified Professional status. The Certification qualification then provides a staff benchmark to competency levels, plus it will also highlight any further areas of training required.

Overall, a transition to a BIM application such as Autodesk Revit should not be undertaken lightly. It requires organisation, planning and a will to move forward and utilise the tools Revit provides. With BIM 2 compliance on the horizon for January 1, 2016 in the UK, it is in every organisation’s best interests to make the move to BIM and its associated CAD applications as soon as possible.

The first part of this article can be read here.

The third part of this article can be read here.

About the author

Shaun Bryant is an Autodesk Certified Professional with twenty-six years total industry experience using AutoCAD and Revit.

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